The political cataclysms of the 20th century dramatically changed the world we live in. Among other things, World War II followed by the Cold War affected American foreign policy, economic and political realities, our interpretation of equality and security, as well as the climate of ideas in the West in general.
What role did the first Socialist state - the Soviet Union - play in triggering many of those cataclysms and political and ideological changes?
There are many directions you can go to respond to this question. I'll briefly set the stage for the Cold War and then offer three paths you might explore to respond to your question.
- Russia had the largest standing army in the world and fought against Germany, but the Bolshevik (communist) Revolution was not until 1917, near the end of the war. As Russia was swept by revolution, it sought a way to end its involvement in WWI (incidentally, not long after the U.S. entered the war).
Between the world wars (1919-1939)
- Communist parties began to appear in countries all over Europe, especially in Germany. Great competition emerged between communists and Nazi socialists in Germany.
- Nazi Germany invaded the USSR in the summer of 1941 apparently to avoid facing the potential of fighting the Great Britain, the U.S., and the USSR simultaneously. It was a fateful decision for Nazi Germany. The eventual outcome of WWII was a brokered peace between the U.S., Great Britain, and USSR and unconditional surrender on part of Germany and Japan. Not only was Germany ultimately split into East Germany and West Germany, but the USSR did not return to its pre-war borders. The Nazi invasion during WWII weighed heavily in the Russian consciousness, and following the war Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin, desired a band of "friendly" states around the USSR's western border to protect against any ...
The Soviet Union as the first socialist state is determined.